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Thanks to the generosity of our donors, the School of Humanities recognizes and celebrates students’ academic achievements through various prizes and awards.

Students who won awards at the School of Humanities Award Ceremony

You can find the full list of recipients on the Award Recipients page.

Gertrude Halpern Friends of Humanities

This award, sponsored by the Friends of Humanities, is given to the junior in Humanities with the highest grade point average. The calculation is made after the end of the spring semester of junior year, and the winner is notified at that time. We celebrate the winner at the end of senior year.

The President’s Award for Excellence in the Humanities

This is award is given to a senior student for academic excellence in the Humanities.

The James Greenwood Senior Project Prize

This award for the best senior project in the School of Humanities is named for Jim Greenwood, the founder of the Friends of Humanities.

The Dina Reutershan  Epstein Memorial Award

The Dina Reutershan Epstein Award is given to honor the memory of Rosalie Reutershan’s beloved daughter. In the spirit of Dina’s life, the award goes to a Humanities student who shows achievement in one or more of the following areas: community service, academic accomplishment, ability to overcome obstacles, or other criteria which make the student exceptional.

The Bell Chevigny Prize in the Humanities for Feminist Studies

The Bell Chevigny Prize in the Humanities for Feminist Studies honors Dr. Bell Gale Chevigny, who retired in 1997 after a long career at Purchase teaching American literature and women’s studies. Author of The Woman and The Myth: Margaret Fuller’s Life and Writings, Professor Chevigny recently edited the anthology Doing Time: 25 Years of Prison Writing.

The Ronnie Scharfman Award for Diaspora Studies

The Scharfman Award to honor excellent work in diaspora studies was endowed by Evin and Carol Rubin on the occasion of Professor Ronnie Scharfman’s retirement in 2009. Dr. Scharfman was a professor of French and Literature, and a pioneer in post-colonial studies.


M.A. Prize in Art History and Criticism, and Theory

This prize is awarded for excellence in the research and writing of a thesis in the master’s program in Art History.

Art History Prize

This prize honors students for overall excellence in the field of Art History.

Ginny Wray was a Purchase graduate who went on to pursue a career as an editor and freelance writer. Upon her death in 2003 from cancer, she left an endowment for creative writing awards at Purchase. Ginny had a dedicated group of writers and friends and understood the importance of the help and support that writers can offer each other. Her legacy and generosity are acknowledged each spring when the Creative Writing Program awards prizes in her honor.

Ginny Wray Senior Prize in Fiction

This prize is awarded to the best piece of fiction written by a graduating senior.

Ginny Wray Senior Prize in Poetry

This prize is awarded to the best group of poems written by a graduating senior.

Ginny Wray Prize in Fiction

This prize is awarded to the best piece of fiction written by a sophomore or junior.

Ginny Wray Prize in Poetry

This prize is awarded to the best group of poems written by a sophomore or junior.


Peter Keller Memorial Prize in American History

The Peter Keller European History Essay Prize is in memory of Peter Keller and honors the best essay in any area of European history.

Richard Maass Prize in American History

This award is given in honor of a prominent Purchase College board member and donor, who was such an avid history buff that his vanity license plate read “AMHIST.” The award is given for outstanding work in American history.

The Best Essay in Asian Studies

Since 2008, this award has been given for exceptional senior projects in Asian Studies. The award is supported by the Asian Studies Fund.

The Richard Alan Sarnoff Memorial Award in Jewish Studies

This award is dedicated to the memory of Richard Alan Sarnoff. Sarnoff was an accomplished lawyer and teacher who was completing the coursework for a doctorate at Columbia University at the time of his death. He studied Russian, Hebrew, and Yiddish in order to approach Jewish texts in their original languages. Every year his family honors the memory of their loving father and husband by presenting this award to an undergraduate who excels in Jewish Studies.


The Peter Keller Journalism Prize

This award is given to an outstanding Junior or Senior student enrolled in the Journalism area of study. The purpose of this award is to provide one award per year in memory of Peter Keller, journalist, educator and long-time editor at the Wall Street Journal. Recipients of the award are selected by the Chair of Humanities and the Journalism Department in conjunction with the recommendation of the donor.

The Richard and Mary Lee Salomon Fund for Journalists Grant

The Richard & Marylee Salomon Fund for Journalists supports graduates pursuing substantial news stories. Upon publication/production of the work, the recipient of the grant will return to Purchase to present it and speak about their experiences with students, faculty, and invited guests.

The Deckinger Investigative Journalism Prize

The Investigative Journalism Story Prize is made possible by support from our loyal donor Nancy Deckinger and the Dr. E. Lawrence Deckinger Family Foundation. It honors a student whose story best embodies the form.

Mike McNickle Journalism Award

Purchase College alumnus Mike McNickle graduated with honors as a political science major in 1984. He went on to become a journalist who believed in investigative reporting with a high level of integrity. His devoted friends and family created this award to honor his memory and values.

The Robert M. Stein prize for Excellence in Literary Studies

This prize is awarded to an upper-level literature major for all-around excellence in the study of literature. The recipient must demonstrate, in written work and class discussion, a commitment to the discipline of literature as practiced and taught by Professor Robert M. Stein. This includes close and systematic attention to textual particularities and to literary form and structure, along with sustained engagement with the ethical, historical, and/or theoretical questions to which literature offers access.

The Michael O’Loughlin Memorial Award

Named after a beloved former colleague, the O’Loughlin prize recognizes a student whom the Literature department considers most reflective of the enthusiasm, engagement, love of literature, and the humane spirit that characterized Professor O’Loughlin.

The Jack Wilson Prize for the Study of American Literature

This award is given in memory of Clarisse Wilson to a student who has excelled in the study of American literature, reflecting the donor’s admiration of the outstanding performance of Purchase students.

The Friends of Humanities/ American Society of Poets Prize

Supported by an endowed gift from the Society, this award has been applied in several ways, including most recently, to recognize students who have done outstanding work in poetry writing and the study of literature.

The James and Alice Greenwood Prize in Philosophy

The Philosophy department is grateful to Jim and Alice Greenwood for funding this award, which recognizes outstanding philosophical work (in the form of essays and senior projects) as well as outstanding contributions to the Philosophy Society and the intellectual community at Purchase.

Are you interested in making a contribution to one of these awards or creating a new award in honor or in memory of a loved one? Please contact for more information.